Television Review: The O’Reilly Factor
by Rob Drysdale
Published: March 16, 2001
Bill O’Reilly, host of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, isn’t here to make friends, he’s here to get to the truth behind the news whether we like it or not.
“The no spin zone.” That’s how Bill O’Reilly describes his nightly news program The O’Reilly Factor. Bill O’Reilly’s tough style of question and answer interviews hasn’t won him many friends, but it is effective. Bill O’Reilly doesn’t pull any punches. Whether he’s condemning controversial artwork or calling Bill Clinton a crook you always know where Bill O’Reilly stands. Despite this O’Reilly makes a great effort to cover issues fairly and accurately.
Bill O’Reilly who along with being host of the #2 cable news program in America, recently edging past Geraldo Rivera’s Rivera Live, is the author of the New York Times Best Seller The O’Reilly Factor: The Good, the Bad & the Completely Ridiculous in American Society. A self proclaimed independent O’Reilly stresses that his show is fair. O’Reilly covers both sides of an issue, and argues both sides equally well.
Right from the beginning of the show Bill O’Reilly engages his viewers with a series of talking points that sum up the day’s news. O’Reilly likens his opening talking points to the opening monologue of former Tonight Show host Johnny Carson. From here O’Reilly launches into his first topic of the night which can range from a light hearted look at America’s fascination with Survivor, to serious investigation into the suspected money for pardons scandal.
After the news broke that Reverend Jesse Jackson had paid $150,000 to a former lover, and mother of his child, O’Reilly publicly called for an investigation into Jackson’s financial records. Soon an investigation was launched and it was learned that one of Jackson’s charitable organizations had actually paid the money, and never made note of it on their taxes.
A short while ago when a representative of Bob Jones University visited the show they were called on the carpet for what O’Reilly called “blatant racial segregation” by the school. The school represented was stunned by O’Reilly’s bold attack of the school, and came off looking like a fool.
To wrap up The Factor O’Reilly takes a little time out to answer viewer mail, most of which is less than flattering. O’Reilly meets comments about the size of his ego, and his supposed bias with more than a smidgen of humor. Sometimes in a moment of self-deprecating humor, akin to Rodney Dangerfield, O’Reilly agrees with the viewer. Usually this isn’t the case, and O’Reilly makes sure to get the last word in, it is his show after all.
Often relentless in his pursuit of answers O’Reilly sometimes goes too far. Critics of O’Reilly claim he only pushes a single point of view, and that his tough style of question and answers is not only rude but also offensive.
Despite his sometimes-impetuous attitude O’Reilly’s show is more than a little entertaining regardless of what side of an issue you are on. The O’Reilly Factor airs Monday through Friday on the Fox News Channel at 8:00 PM and replays at 11:00 PM.